A foal who was the victim of “one of the most horrific cases of neglect” seen by animal welfare workers is making a good recovery at a Blackpool sanctuary.
The pony was just a few months old when he was found with his skin being eaten alive by a maggot infestation which had developed from untreated wounds on his back and rump as a result of lice.
Now named Buggy, he is being cared for at Penny Farm World Horse Welfare Centre on Preston New Road, near Peel Corner.
He was rescued after being found in a field near Leeds by a member of the public who raised the alarm.
World Horse Welfare Office Sarah Tucker, who was called to the scene, said: “As I walked over to the pony, the smell was absolutely putrid even from six feet away.
“I could hear the maggots making a ‘crackling’ sound as they burrowed through his skin.
“It was like his skin was moving as he was so covered in them and he understandably looked very uncomfortable and dejected.
“I would say this is one of the most horrific cases of neglect that I’ve seen in the years I’ve worked for World Horse Welfare.
“It’s shocking to think that Buggy has been left in this terrible condition for and that if he’d been found just one or two days later it would have been too late.”
Buggy was in a field with four other horses.
Sarah added: “In addition to Buggy’s awful maggot-infested wounds, the whole field was full of ragwort, all five of the horses’ hooves were in serious need of trimming and there was no fresh water supply for them to drink.
“Thankfully, they are now all in the safety of World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Lancashire and Buggy is on the road to recovery.”
The RSPCA and police attended at the initial scene so Buggy could be removed under the Animal Welfare Act and transported to safety.
He was taken to a vet in York where he was put on a drip and received urgent treatment to clear his skin of the maggots.
RSPCA inspector Claire Mitchell said: “Poor Buggy was in a sorry state when we were called out to him, we’re really glad he is now receiving the care and treatment he desperately needs. His skin condition is absolutely appalling and he will have been extremely uncomfortable, it’s shocking that somebody could have left him to suffer like this.”
The RSPCA is investigating the incident and trying to track down the owner of the neglected horses.
Anyone with information is urged to call 0300 123 8018.